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Patrick Presents Ambitious Transportation Plan With Green Line Implications

The plan calls for the state to invest $13 billion in transportation over the next decade.

Gov. Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation unveiled a plan Monday to pump billions of dollars into the state's transportation infrastructure over the next decade, according to Masslive.com, WBUR and other reports.

The plan, which lists the Green Line Extension through Somerville as one of a handful of projects on the state's transportation agenda, says Massachusetts needs to raise $13 billion—$1.02 billion a year—over the next 10 years, according to Masslive.com.

It lists the state's transportation needs and proposes several options for raising the revenue. It says any one of the following options would raise $1 billion a year:

 

  • A 0.16 percent payroll tax
  • Increasing the motor fuels (gas) tax to 51 cents per gallon (it's currently 21 cents per gallon, 15th lowest in the nation and lower than in any surrounding state other than New Hampshire).
  • A sales tax increase from 6.25 percent to 7.75 percent
  • An income tax increase from 5.25 percent to 5.66 percent
  • A "green fee" that would add $15 to $85 to people's vehicle registration fees, paid every two years, depending on what kind of car they drive
  • A vehicle miles traveled tax of 2.4 cents per mile
  • Increases on fees, fares and tolls
  • New tolling mechanisms 
  • Tolls on the Western Turnpike

 

The plan does not, however, recommend any particular option. WBUR reported on air that Patrick would outline his preferences Wednesday.

In reference to the Green Line Extension, the plan said the cost of the project is now projected to be $1,327,517,000.

The federal government, in accepting the Green Line Extension into the first stages of its , said one of the major factors that might prevent the Green Line Extension from receiving federal funds is the state's transportation fiscal problems.

As such, the plan and proposals outlined Monday, if adopted, would contribute to the Green Line Extension's case for federal dollars.

You can read the whole plan here.

AHM January 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM
What planet does this guy come from? My pay has gone down so much and so many others around me that there is no way we can handle any more. He has to get real. I had planned to leave Somerville as it is becoming too unnafordable but may have to rethink and leave the state as we can't take any more hits. The country is broke, does he not read the newspapers? Of course, he gets to leave and then we are stuck with this mess. If he is not the worst govenor we have had he is next to him. Clueless in Massachusetts.
Matt C January 15, 2013 at 02:00 PM
I agree that the economy is not great, however it is getting better each day. You may be right that 2013 may not be the right time to implement such a plan. One marked change though is that he is not looking to rebuild the transportation infrastructure of the state by just laying more debt on the backs of future generations. The plan is to pay for it now - which should be applauded. One thing to consider is the impact of this spending on Somerville. It will be huge and transformative. Between the green line and work on major arteries in the state nearly 1/10 of all spending will happen within Somerville directly affecting us and our neighbors. That alone would be a good reason to take the hit and support the plan (assuming it is targeted and has an expiration date).
Susan January 15, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Matt C, you're as crazy as he is. What everyone from the President on down to the Board of Aldermen don't get is you can't just keep adding taxes upon taxes without cutting costs. The transportation infrastructure is in this mess because they haven't been using excise taxes and gas taxes as they were meant to be used. They can raise these taxes now and generate some money but in the end it will hurt the economy by taking money out of circulation that would have been spent on goods and services. And without cutting costs they will be in the same mess in a year or two and start all over. I am tired of being nickel and dimed to death by taxes aimed at certain people, while the governor fights to give cheap tuition to illegals who don't even pay taxes. I can't afford a new car, much less a 'green car' so I am penalized. If my job happens to be far from home, I am penalized. Unfortunately people get what they voted for. It's definitely time to think about getting out of this state for good, sad to say.
Matt C January 15, 2013 at 02:29 PM
You are not going to get any argument from me on cutting costs. My big points were, stop increasing debt, all taxes should be targeted and have an end date, and that the proposed transportation spending disproportionately benefits Somerville (a town who has historically gotten a bum deal on transportation projects.).
Susan January 15, 2013 at 03:42 PM
We have had many taxes and tolls in the past that had an end date, but it was never adhered to. I don't believe taxes should be applied unfairly. Why are the people in Western MA paying tolls which don't pay for the road but for a myriad of other things, including Route 93, where the drivers pay no tolls?
Matt C January 15, 2013 at 04:50 PM
When you look at net flows for spending those in western ma actually do pretty well. I do not have exact numbers but I would bet that if we looked at net in flows and out flows of money to cities / counties we would see that overall people in eastern ma are subsidizing those in western ma. So their tolls may be subsidizing our transportation costs, but our taxes are subsidizing their schools, fire and police departments. Similar to how we in MA are subsidizing many people in the south with our federal taxes.
ThePhDScientist January 15, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Scapegoating a little Susan? I agree that Massachusetts is certainly worthy of it's moniker "Taxachusetts", but the bit about tuition for illegals who don't pay taxes - sounds a bit like Republican bloviating. Show me that economic argument with real numbers that it's these illegals who are taking all your money.
AHM January 15, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Matt, I was never crazy about it coming here anyway. First of all they did not do this in a way to be cost effective. It is going to cost way more than what they tell us. One way I saw a while back was t get it here and working and then do all the fancy addons that get the price up. Would have a working system sooner and less expensive. Problem is that many of us here do not have the incomes to take any more hits. I think my parents just got about $7.50 more per month combined. I am paying their rent as they don't have enough with food medications, doctor copays. There are too many of us here not really getting by. I can assure you we do not have any luxury items, not even a small flat screen TV. Last year I had to give up medications hafyway through the year as the medication insurance was all used up(donut hole). This year has started and I am not going to bother because of the $45 monthly copay for each one. May as well not bother. So this whole 13 billion scheme is not high on my agenda. I am no supporter of Deval and most certainly Curatone. You don't invest money you don't have. I also don't think other parts of the state will be too happy to have most of this money spent here. We should be more like Springfield and not take on debt. Just my opinion which means nothing as they do what they want and not what we want anyway.
AHM January 16, 2013 at 02:07 AM
I didn't write this, was in the Herald. Have to do 2 parts though. Since Mini-Me thinks its perfectly acceptable that those of us who do not use the MBTA be taxed to subsidize cheap fares for those that use the MBTA, I think its only fair that a group that uses the roads for free start to pay their fair share, bike enthusiasts. I think it is high time they start paying their fair share. In keeping with paying ones fair share, here are a few suggestions. All bicycles operating on a public way must be registered just like a car or motorcycle. That will be $50.00 per bike every two years, please. All bicycle operators must have a special operator's license and testing to show they know the rules of the road, can safely operate a bicycle, and the visual acuity to see the red light before they blast through the intersection.
AHM January 16, 2013 at 02:08 AM
Part 2 That will be $50.00 per person every 4 years. An annual $5.00 per registered bicycle excise tax every year.. Let's have a special $5.00 surcharge on each bicycle helmet sold in the Commonwealth. Each year each registered bicycle must be inspected for safety, that wil be $25.00 per bike please. Of course, there will be hefty fines for failure to comply* Come on, bike enthusiasts, you use the roads so it is time for you to starts paying your fair share. *Note: unless you are an illegal alien then feel free to ride your unregistered and uninspected bicycle without a bicycle license anywhere, any time you like. You didn't obey our immigration laws coming into the country, why should we expect you to start obeying our laws now?
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Sand Man January 18, 2013 at 05:51 PM
AHM, you are absolutely right. Since cyclists also use our roads and are defined as "moving vehicles" by state law, it's altogether fitting and proper that cyclists should also be registered and taxed! Our taxes subsidize street and road maintenance (which includes bike lanes and paths) which cyclists also use, so How about it, Guv? No more free rides!
Mary Jones January 18, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Matt C, if these new tolls were instituted, people in Western MA, and Central MA will be subsidizing the T. I don't think they receive enough services from the T to warrant that.
Mary Jones January 18, 2013 at 06:17 PM
To THhePhDScientist, why when someone brings up an issue you don't agree with, it's dismissed as Republican nonsense. I read the comment above and all that was said was that the governor wants to provide in-state (lower cost) tuition to illegals. Until it begins there is no dollar figure you can put on it, but it has the potential to be huge. Any illegal currently attending would go from out-of-state to in-state tuition. Also, as many illegals would be designated 'minority' students they would likely be first in line for grants, scholarships, etc. Something like this could even attract illegals to come into the state. Maybe you can just imagine the numbers......
Rog January 18, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Oh and don't forget pedestrians. They need to be registered and taxed! They use the roads too (well, sidewalks and crosswalks). It's about time they start paying their fair share!
Sand Man January 18, 2013 at 09:25 PM
My Doodness, Rog, you made a FUNNY... Well, actually, it was more like...lame....
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kevin slattery January 29, 2013 at 02:42 PM
I will pay my taxes just bring in the green line please

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